I am a Cat (Chapter 3 b) Section 097 Study Guide

Practice text with full furigana

ねこあしあれどもがごとし、どこをあるいて不器用ぶきようおとのしたためしがないそらを踏むがごとく、くもがごとく、水中すいちゅうけいがごとく、洞裏とうりしつするがごとく、醍醐だいご妙味みょうみめて言詮ごんせんのほかに冷暖れいだん自知じちするがごとし。月並つきなみ西洋館せいようかんもなく、模範もはん勝手かってもなく、車屋くるまやかみさんも、権助ごんすけも、飯焚めしたきも、御嬢おじょうさまも、仲働なかばたらも、鼻子はなこ夫人ふじんも、夫人の旦那だんなさまもない。行きたいところへ行ってきたいはなしを聞いて、した尻尾しっぽってひげをぴんとてて悠々ゆうゆうかえのみである。ことに吾輩わがはいはこのみちけては日本にっぽんいち堪能かんのうである。草双紙くさぞうしにある猫又ねこまた血脈けつみゃくけておりはせぬかとみずかうたがくらいである。がまひたいには夜光やこう明珠めいしゅがあるとが、吾輩の尻尾には神祇じんぎ釈教しゃっきょうこい無常むじょう無論むろんこと満天下まんてんか人間にんげん馬鹿ばかにする一家いっか相伝そうでん妙薬みょうやくんである。金田かねだ廊下ろうかひとらぬ横行おうこうするくらいは、仁王におうさま心太ところてんつぶよりも容易よういである。このとき吾輩はわれながら、わが力量りきりょう感服かんぷくして、これも普段ふだん大事だいじにする尻尾の御蔭おかげだなといてとただかれない。吾輩の尊敬そんけいする尻尾大明神だいみょうじん礼拝らいはいしてニャンうん長久ちょうきゅういのらばやと、ちょっと低頭ていとうして見たが、どうもすこ見当けんとうちがようである。なるべく尻尾のほうを見て三拝さんぱいしなければならん。尻尾の方を見ようと身体からだまわと尻尾も自然しぜん廻る。追付おっつこうおもってくびをねじると、尻尾もおな間隔かんかくをとって、さき。なるほど天地てんち玄黄げんこう三寸さんずんおさめるほどの霊物れいもつだけあって、到底とうてい吾輩のわない、尻尾をめぐ七度ななたはんにして草臥くたびれたからやめにした。少々しょうしょうがくらむ。どこにいるのだかちょっと方角ほうがくわからなくなるかまものかと滅茶苦茶めちゃくちゃあるき廻る。障子しょうじうちで鼻子のこえがする。ここだとまって左右さゆうみみはすにっていきらす。「貧乏びんぼう教師きょうしくせ生意気なまいきじゃありませんか」とれい金切かなきごえてる

Rough translation

A cat's paws are everywhere yet nowhere, with never an untoward sound. Like footsteps on air, like motion through mist, like stone on stone in water, like strings strummed deep in the earth, an exquisite taste of ultimate truth, experienced first hand, in absence of spoken words. Never mind this mundane Western house, never mind its model kitchen, never mind the cartman's wife, the manservant, the kitchen helper, the daughter, the hired hands, Madam Hanako or her husband. I go where I like, listen as I please, stick out my tongue, shake my tail, set my whiskers taut, then quietly take my leave. When it comes to such technique, none in this land can match me. That nekomata demon cat of yore, I've begun to suspect, may well yet coarse through these veins. They say that toads carry, embedded in their foreheads, a noctolucent gem. Likewise, I carry in my tail not just the gods of heaven and earth, not just the Buddha, not just life's allures and transience, but a miracle elixer for all man's afflictions down through the ages. To stalk the Kaneda's corridors unnoticed, for me, is like Niō crushing jelly underfoot. In this moment, humbled by the height of my own powers, all stemming from this prized tail, I couldn't help but pause out of reverence. I lowered my head in deference to the great tail deity, adding a prayer for eternal feline fortune. It occurred to me, though, that my bearings were off. To laud the tail, one faces the tail. As I turned my body, my tail followed suit. I twisted my head to compensate, but my tail jumped by the same degree, still a step ahead. An object so divine, housing heaven and earth in its shortest span, was ever beyond my grasp. Exhausted after seven turns or more, I duly abandoned the chase. My head was swimming. I'd lost track of which way was which. Caring not, I stumbled on my way. Hanako's voice, from behind a shōji, stopped me in my tracks. I perked my ears and stilled my breath. "Penniless teacher, and disrespectful to boot." Her shrill voice rose up in ire.

Vocabulary

ねこ catあし feet; pawsあれどもき there yet not thereがごとし as if ...; as though ...あるいて tread; step不器用ぶきような clumsy; awkward; ungainlyおと soundためしがない have never ...そら sky; skies; the airくも clouds; vaporsく move (through)水中すいちゅう underwaterけい sounding stone; sounding bowl (ancient China)つ beat; strike洞裏とうり depths of the earthしつ (ancient Chinese) stringed instrumentする pluck; strum醍醐だいご ultimate truth of Buddhism; nirvana妙味みょうみ exquisiteness; beautyめて taste; experience言詮ごんせん words of explanation; words of instruction冷暖れいだん自知じちする realize enlightenment through personal experience月並つきなみな ordinary; commonplace; mundane西洋館せいようかん Western-style house模範もはん model; example勝手かって kitchen車屋くるまや cartmanかみさん wife権助ごんすけ manservant飯焚めしたき kitchen helper御嬢おじょうさま daughter; young lady仲働なかばたらき maid working in both the living quarters and kitchen鼻子はなこ夫人ふじん Madam Hanako旦那だんなさま husbandきたい want to hearはなし talk; conversationした tongueし stick out尻尾しっぽ tailって wave; shakeひげ whiskersてて straighten; extend悠々ゆうゆうと calmly; quietly; easilyかえる return (home)吾輩わがはい I; me; myselfみち path; way; means; methodけては when it comes to ...; concerning ...日本にっぽんいち foremost in Japan堪能かんのう proficiency; skill草双紙くさぞうし illustrated storybook猫又ねこまた mythical two-tailed monster cat血脈けつみゃく bloodline; lineageけており be a recipient ofみずから for oneself; of one's own initiativeうたがう suspectがま toadひたい forehead夜光やこう noctolucent; shining at night明珠めいしゅ bright gem; shining jewelう say; state; claim神祇じんぎ gods of heaven and earth釈教しゃっきょう Buddhismこい romance; love無常むじょう transiency; impermanence無論むろん of course; without sayingこと situation; circumstance満天下まんてんか the whole world; all the world人間にんげん human beings; humanity馬鹿ばかにする make light of; toy with; stymie; thwart一家いっか相伝そうでん passed down over generations妙薬みょうやく miracle cure; elixirんで put in; pack away金田かねだ Kaneda family; the Kanedas廊下ろうか hallways; corridorsひと a personらぬ not know; be unaware interval; period (of time)横行おうこうする strut; swagger; stride仁王におう Niō (either of two Buddhist guardians; often placed at temple entrances)さま -sama (honorific suffix)心太ところてん tokoroten (jelly-like snack popular during Edo period; often extruded into noodle-like form)つぶす trample; crush underfoot容易ようい easy; simpleとき time; momentわれながら if I dare say so myself力量りきりょう ability; capacity; talent感服かんぷくして be impressed; be struck by普段ふだん usually; normally; generally大事だいじにする value; prize; treat with care御蔭おかげ thanks to; owing toいてる realize; notice; think onかれない can't (simply) leave be尊敬そんけいする respect; esteem; honor大明神だいみょうじん great deity礼拝らいはいして worship; adoreニャンうん長久ちょうきゅう eternal feline forture (play on 武運ぶうん長久ちょうきゅう)いのらばや pray; petition (for)低頭ていとうして lower one's head; bow downすこし a little; a bit見当けんとう direction; bearingsちがう different; counter; not rightほう direction三拝さんぱいしなければならん must express adoration (through threefold action)身体からだ bodyまわす rotate; turn自然しぜんと naturally追付おっつこう catch up; pull evenおもって think (to do)くび head; neckおなじ the same間隔かんかく space; interval; segmentさき ahead; forwardす run off; bolt away天地てんち玄黄げんこう heaven and earth (lit: heaven is black and earth is yellow; from I Ching)三寸さんずん 3 sun (about 10 cm; about 4 inches) inside; amidst; withinおさめる store; keep; hold霊物れいもつ divine entity到底とうてい by (no) meansわない be untenableめぐる come round on七度ななたはん seven times and more; more than enough草臥くたびれた ran out of steam少々しょうしょう a bit; somewhatがくらむ feel dizzy; be disoriented方角ほうがく direction; bearingsわからなくなる lose track ofかまう mind; care滅茶苦茶めちゃくちゃに incoherently; in confusion障子しょうじ shōjiうち insideこえ voiceまって stop; halt左右さゆう left and right; both sidesみみ earsはすにって cut an angle with; set at an angleいきらす hold one's breath; still one's breathing貧乏びんぼう destitute; poor教師きょうし teacher; instructorくせに though; in spite of生意気なまいき impertinent; cheeky; brazenれいの characteristic; signature金切かなきごえ shrill voiceてる raise (one's voice)